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UNWTO: Iran Tourist Arrivals Rise 50% to Top 7 Million in 2018

Iran had a 2.1% share of global tourist arrivals and more than 22% in South Asia last year
UNWTO: Iran Tourist Arrivals Rise 50% to Top 7 Million in 2018UNWTO: Iran Tourist Arrivals Rise 50% to Top 7 Million in 2018

Iran hosted 7.29 million foreign tourists in 2018, about 50% more compared with the year before, according to the United Nations' World Tourism Organization.
The country had a 2.1% share of global tourist arrivals and more than 22% in South Asia last year.
A total of 4.86 foreign tourists visited Iran in 2017, 1.5% less compared to the year before.
Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Vali Teymouri recently said 4.1 million foreign tourists visited Iran during the first five months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Aug. 22).
"The visits were made despite the threats and challenges facing the country," Teymouri was quoted as saying by Radio Eqtesad.
An earlier report by World Travel and Tourism Council indicates that Iraq was the main source of tourism for Iran last year, as Iraqis constituted 24% of all inbound visitors. Other major sources were Azerbaijan (17%), Turkey (8%), Pakistan (4%) and Bahrain (2%). The remaining 46% came from the rest of the world.
Although rising tensions between Washington and Tehran are hitting visitor numbers, especially from Europe, the increasing number of travelers arriving in Iran for religious and medical purposes is making up for the loss.

 

 

Tourist Spending

As for tourist spending, the 2018 figure was not part of the UNWTO report. But it noted that foreign tourists spent a total of $4.4 billion in Iran in 2017.
The decline in national currency last year has meant that travelling to and shopping in Iran are cheaper for foreign nationals. The rial lost nearly two-thirds of its value against the US dollar last year.
In fact, Iran has been ranked first worldwide in terms of price competitiveness in the World Economic Forum's "The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019".
The World Economic Forum report attributes Iran's top ranking to low ticket taxes and airport charges (seventh), fuel prices (fifth) and high purchasing power (fifth).

 

 

A 2013-17 Review

The UNWTO’s 2019 edition of Compendium of Tourism Statistics—a reference guide for the measurement and analysis of tourism sector—shows a slight decrease in international visitors landing in Iran during 2015-17.
The statistics present data for 203 countries from 2013-17.
A total of 5,237,000 foreign tourists visited Iran in 2015, about 5.6% more compared with the following year (2016). In fact, 2015 saw the highest number of international tourist arrivals to Iran during 2013-17. 
The region-wise breakdown of foreign visitors to Iran shows that the share of arrivals from Europe was the largest of all regions in 2017 with 1,903,000 tourists. After Europe, the Middle East with 1,529,000 tourists, South Asia with 1,117,000 and East Asia and Pacific with 153,000 visitors were the top regions people visited Iran from in 2017.
Americas and Africa were the smallest sources of Iran’s region-wise inbound tourism. As few as 12,000 tourists from Americas and about 14,000 travelers from Africa landed in Iran in 2017.
Road has been the most popular mode of transport among international visitors to Iran during 2013-17. Of the 4,867,000 visits to Iran in 2017, a total of 3,210,000 were made by land (by road in particular), about 1,629,000 by air and around 28,000 by maritime routes. The World Tourism Organization did not provide numbers on travels by rail. 
UNWTO defines tourism expenditure as the amount paid for the acquisition of consumption goods and services, as well as valuables, for own use or to give away, for and during tourism trips. 
Expenditure associated with the activity of international visitors has been traditionally identified with the travel item of the Balance of Payments: In the case of inbound tourism, expenditures associated with inbound visitors are registered as “credits” in BOP and refers to “travel receipts”.
The 2008 International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics consider transport of passengers to be part of “tourism industries and products”. Consequently, a better estimate of tourism-related expenditures’ data by resident and non-resident visitors in an international scenario would be, in terms of BOP, the value of travel item plus that of the passenger transport item. 
Figures provided for 2013-16 show that international visitors’ total spending was the highest in 2015 with $4,771 million, followed by $4,197 million in 2014, $3,914 million in 2016 and $3,306 million in 2013.
In 2016, of the total inbound tourism expenditure of $3,914 million, travel value was $3,713 million and the value of passenger transport was $201 million.
Out of the total inbound tourism expenditure of $4,771 million in 2015, travel value stood at $4,388 million and the value of passenger transport was $383 million.
In 2014, of the total inbound tourism expenditure of $4,197 million, the value of travel hovered around $3,841 million and the value of passenger transport was $356 million.
Of the total inbound tourism expenditure worth $3,308 million in 2013, the value of travel was $3,054 million and the value of passenger transport stuck around $252 million.
The United Nations’ World Tourism Organization also provides data on expenditure by main purpose of the trip based on BOP. The main purpose of a tourism trip is defined as the purpose in the absence of which the trip would not have taken place. 
In 2016, inbound tourism expenditure for personal purposes stood at $3,023 million and that of business and professional purposes was at $690 million. 
Inbound tourism expenditure for personal purposes stood at $3,575 million and that of business and professional purposes was $814 million in 2015.
Inbound tourism expenditure for personal purposes, in 2014, stood at $3,166 million and that of business and professional purposes was $675 million. 
In 2013, inbound tourism expenditure for personal purposes stood at $2,497 million and that of business and professional purposes was $556 million.

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